Sonoma Grille: A Go-To Place for a Second Date in the Cultural District

Sonoma GrilleIt’s your first date. You found the trendiest gastro pub in your price range, had a cocktail at the bar to break the ice, and then shifted to a quiet booth in the corner for a perfectly fine meal. The conversation went great and the chemistry between the two of you is definitely worth exploring further.

Now it’s time to plan a second date…

Located in the heart of Pittsburgh’s Cultural District near all of the major downtown theaters and attractions, Sonoma Grille’s sophisticated menu and approachable service is a perfect go-to place to set the stage for your budding new relationship.

Here are four ways to make a lasting second, first impression at Sonoma Grille:

Negroni Sonoma GrilleHappy Hour

Why limit your second date to a Friday or Saturday evening when there’s happy hour! Consider meeting up after work for wine and tapas without the worry of breaking your budget. Sonoma Grille’s happy hour specials are from 5 pm until 7pm. Glasses of wine and craft cocktails are only $5 each, and tapas are a $1 off.

The bar area is an inviting space with ample seating. Though I recommend arriving early to secure your ideal spot. If there’s an awkward pause in the conversation, the friendly bartenders are more than happy to engage in some brief banter to help get things back on track.

Tapas Sonoma GrilleIf you miss the happy hour window, the restaurant offers a Chef’s Tapas for Two option that is still very affordable at only $24 and includes five different small plates.

Sonoma Grille WinesEvening of Perfect Pairings:

Selecting a perfect wine pairing with each course is an excellent way of demonstrating that you have done your homework when it comes to food and wine.

During a recent tasting event organized by Fame15 Creative, I had the opportunity to sample several of Sonoma’s new menu offerings. The restaurant’s in-house wine expert paired each course with an excellent wine. Here are a few of my recommended pairings that are sure to please your pal.

Sonoma Grille FoodStarters:

PB & J: Pork Belly, House Jam with a Frisee Salad
Wine Pairing: Anthony Road Finger Lakes NY 2015

Wild Mushroom Small Plate: Abalone Mushroom, Mushroom Pate and Toast
Wine Pairing:Henry Fessy Cru Beaujolais (Brouilly Fr)

Braised & Fried Kale: Scallion Ginger Relish, Coconut Curry Fondue Topped with a Fried Egg
Wine Pairing:Henry Fessy Cru Beaujolais (Brouilly Fr)

Octopus Salad: Cooked Octopus Tossed with Greens, Quinoa, Fennel, Citrus and Bee Pollen
Wine Pairing:La Forcine Muscadet 2014 (Loire FR)

Entrees:

Guinea Hen: Pickled Red Onion, Frisee, Sorrel Pesto, Blackberry Jus and Summer Squash Beignet
Beef Butcher’s Roast: Wild Mushroom, Root Vegetable Puree with its Natural Jus
Double Bone Pork Chop: Local Peach Jam, Cheddar Polenta, Heirloom Baby Carrot with a Pork Demi

Wine Pairing for All Three Entrees:Brancatelli Valle Delle Stelle Super Tuscan 2012 (Tuscany)

Desserts:

Honey Grapefruit Cake: Topped with Cashew Brittle and Roasted White Chocolate Ice Cream
Chocolate Crème Brulee: 99% Dark Chocolate with Brownie Brittle and Chocolate Malt Ice Cream

Skip the Wine. Order a Coffee.

Sonoma Grille InteriorGroup Date

Sometimes there’s no getting around the dreaded, “let’s hang out with a group of my friends” request. Group dates can be some of the most stressful kinds of second dates because you’re not only trying to impress one person, but all of their judgmental friends as well. The last thing you want to worry about while being on your best behavior is making sure everyone is satisfied with their meal and checks are separated accurately.

If the size of the group balloons to larger than a few people, it can be challenging to find a restaurant that can accommodate your party’s needs. Sonoma Grille’s service style, dining room set-up and menu works well for larger groups. The Family Style Entrees option is a great way of turning the evening into a memorable shared experience for all involved. Instead of each person ordering their own individual meal, larger entrees with salad and accompaniments are shared and passed around the table. Then at the end of the night, the check can be split evenly between each member of the group.

Steak at Sonoma GrilleChef’s Table Meal:

If you are looking for a simple “wow” factor for your second date, the Chef’s Table option is the way to go. You and your companion will receive a four-course meal that is completely customized by the Executive Chef. Each item is entirely off-menu and can vary depending what ingredients are at their prime that day. It’s like having your own personal chef at the restaurant. At only $55 per person or $75 with wine pairings, you’ll get a lot of flavor for your money.

Make sure to mention your interest in ordering the Chef’s Table when making your reservation. Giving ample notice allows the chef plenty of time to design a truly unforgettable experience.

Photo Credits: Sonoma Grille and Fame15 Creative

 

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